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Is the Universe Infinite? Explain.

 
 
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2004 04:14 pm
Is the universe infinite or finite?
Neither answer seems to work well.

Is our universe infinite?
How could that be possible? How can something go on forever?

Is it finite? Really? Then what is just outside the "walls of the universe?"
How could that be possible?

And, if the universe is a "Figure-8 on its side"...What is outside the Figure-8?
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Thok
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2004 10:39 pm
Neiter.
Albert Einstein:
Quote:
The universe is small, but still infinite


I agree with him.....
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2004 11:02 pm
The last I heard, they were unable to determine this, because it depends on knowing the total quantity of matter in the universe. If the quantity is below some threshold, then the universe is open, or infinite. If the quantity is at least as great as the threshold value, then the universe is closed, which means that if you travelled long enough in what seemed to be a straight line, you would eventually return to your starting point.
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Thok
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 12:52 am
Or a other theory: The universe has a trompet form.

But I tough it out: Einstein had this good describe.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 10:19 am
The universe is infinite, and empty. It is an illusion of multiplicity that in reality is empty. The perceptual world appears to be filled with "things", for which there are spatial relationships, and change that defines time. Multiplicity is illusory. There is in Ultimate Reality no time or space. Zero equals infinity equals zero. "The universe is more like a great thought than a grand mechanism". The source of the illusory world is not a personality, or consciousness, outside the "dream". One might ask why did the illusion of multiplicity, of time and space, arise from the infinite and indivisible. That is unknowable. Ultimate Reality and the infinite number of co-existing universes that arise from it, just is.
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Queue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 05:38 pm
Well, having traveled it, I know the answer:

In terms of your life and the knowledge you will ever know - it is infinite. In mathematical terms, it is finite. In relative terms, it is infinite. In terms of the human imagination, it is finite.

The human mind is expansionless, but try to imagine "nothing". That is what exists "outside" the Universe. Try this: ever look at a vaccum tube made of glass. You know nothing is "in there", but your mind says, "how can it be empty". There 'has' to be something in there. Some air or some molecules. Nope, it is a vaccum.

Therefore, the Universe. It is infinitely finite. (just kidding)

On the other hand, modern physicists are arguing over the age, size, shape and mass of the Universe. It will be hard to pinpoint these, until we have stopped discovering new things like blackholes, dark matter, strings and neutrinos.

So, the answer to your question is like a two sided coin:
Side 1] the Universe is infinite. It goes on and on and on, neverending. This believe will keep your imagination running wild with theories.
Side 2] the Universe is finite. It has bounds, which define matter and nothing. Outside the Universe is vast emptiness. Inside are galaxies, stars, mega-gas and dust clouds, and so on. It could be round, doughnut, or flat in shape.

I believe it is basically finite in nature. Outside it is nothing, expect maybe other instances of Universes. It will never matter to me, so I don't stress over it much. I guess, for now, I will just continue to mix my belief with that of the like of Steven Hawkings who believes it is "finite"

More info: http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/lindex.html

-my two cents
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akaMechsmith
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 06:53 pm
Hello Extra Medium,

This is a question which has occupied philosophers and physicists for some time. Personally I have been chasing it around for several years. Through some fifty books, ranging from "The Abrahamic Bible" to "The Big Bang Never Happened".

If you believe in a "Big Bang" then the Universe is finite and could be defined as a sphere some 30,000,000,000 light years (a measurement of time, distance, and matter) in diameter.

If you believe in a "Creation" then the Universe is infinite as the "Creator" is infinite.

If you define "space" as determined by gravity (space time) then the Universe may be finite.

If you define "space" as a void (absence of gravity-- disordered) then the Universe is infinite, unless one chooses to use the term "Cosmos" for anything that we may not be able to deduce. There may not even be one.

If you use light to learn things about the Universe then you can fairly say that "Our Observable Universe" is finite, simply because of the nature of light. Given enough "space time" one cannot see at all as the light "red shifts to the point at which it cannot convey any information. And it "red shifts" as a result of matter and distance (space time).

Basically it turns out that the question of whether the Universe is finite or infinite turns out much more a matter of "belief" and "description"than either theoretical physicists or religious philosophers are pleased to admit. Sad

Personally I prefer infinite as it dispenses with the need for "Big Bangs" or "Gods", neither of which have been shown to exist. Confused

Frankly Asherman answered as well as anybody Exclamation

You may want to search "red shift" or the "CMBR" probe. Also there was a page entitled "The Big Bang and Other Creation Myths" but I couldn't get there last time I tried.

Unfortunetly Sad this question turns out to be more appropriate to the "Religion" Forum.

Darned if I KNOW. I don't think any body else does either Smile Lotsa Luck.
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Thok
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 10:12 pm
Queue wrote:

Therefore, the Universe. It is infinitely finite. (just kidding)


not unconditionally kidding.Actually this is possible.
0 Replies
 
Thalion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 06:53 am
You can't ask what is outside the universe. The universe is defined as all that is. To ask what else exists is logically an impossible question. Everything that exists is contained in the universe. We have a problem with the size of the universe only when we try to compare it to something else and imagine the universe as if it were inside a box. There is nothing outside the universe (by definition) and consequently the universe does not have an "edge." If you define the surface of the Earth as being the only place where matter exists, you realize that it has no end. It is endless, yet finite, like going around a circle over and over. The same case with the universe.
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Queue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 02:39 pm
To be the devil's advocate, I speculated that there could be many Universe Nutshells in existence. In other words, what we call "The Universe" could just be a drop in a well of many infinite number of Universes. However, this merely redefines our Universe into a larger model on pure conjecture.
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akaMechsmith
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 05:16 pm
Thalion,

Frankly we have several Universes all of which can be described as "all that is". The Big Bang-Expanding Universe, Creation, The Observable Universe, The Plasma Universe, The 22 dimensioned Universe etc. There are literally dozens out there. Confused

I prefer "Cosmos" to describe all that is ordered. and that allows "Universe" to be used as all we can imagine. Very Happy

If there is a "Cosmos" then there is room for the "big bangers" and then one can easily imagine that the Universe (which could include disordered "voids") is actually an expanding Cosmos which could be defined as finite (contained within a Universe)

But customary use of a word or term is hard to fight. Sad

One more little comment, Can you imagine a true infinity Question I had a lot of trouble with that. I suspect that that little difficulty is responsible for quite a lot of the universes kicking around out there. It seems to be difficult for most people to "believe" that an infinity may exist. Yet it may be a fair description.
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